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Dutch FM apologizes for revealing MH17 passenger with oxygen mask

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-10 09:30

THE HAGUE - Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans on Thursday apologized for remarks in a talk show on Wednesday in which he declared that a victim of the MH17 in eastern Ukraine was found with an oxygen mask.

People were shocked by the statement, which was not widely known. The information was not spread further before because no conclusion could yet be drawn from the data and more research is needed.

Timmermans, the new first vice-president of the European Commission, expressed his regret that relatives of the 298 victims of the disaster were faced with new information, before they were informed about it themselves.

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"The MH17 disaster is close to my heart, I really feel with the relatives," he stated. "The last thing I want to do is to aggravate their suffering in any way. I should not have said it."

The public prosecutor on Thursday confirmed that one of the non- Dutch passengers of Flight MH17 had an oxygen mask with a rubber band around his neck. All other passengers wore no mask. The mask is examined for fingerprints, saliva and DNA, but without a result.

It is unknown how and when the mask got around the neck of the victim. After the remarks by Timmermans all relatives of MH17 victims are informed about the finding of the oxygen mask.

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